- Cisco buys NDS Group for $5 billion in March
- SAP AG acquired Ariba for $4.5 billion in May
- CGI Group acquired Logica PLC for $2.6 billion in May
- Dell bought Quest Software for $2.5 billion in July
- ASML Holding announced the acquisition of Cymer for $2.5 billion in October
Ernst & Young says despite tech M&A deals falling in 2012, the cloud market remained hot, and specifically SaaS companies. "Largely on the strength of SaaS growth, the cloud/SaaS megatrend ran away from the rest of the pack of deal-driving trends in 2012, growing to more than 15% of global technology M&A deal volume," the report states. Examples of large SaaS deals include Cisco's purchase of SaaS wireless access point management company Meraki for $1.2 billion, Citrix purchasing cloud-based mobile device management company Zenprise for $355 million, and Oracle snapping up cloud-based human capital management firm Taleo ($2 billion) and marketing automation SaaS company Eloqua ($956 million).
Another trend Ernst & Young noticed was around non-tech companies buying into the technology industry, such as John Wiley & Sons, a publishing company buying online learning company Deltak for $220 million.
Some areas that fell off in activity last year were cross-border international deals, which declined for the first time in three years. The number of deals was off just 3% to 970, but the value of that activity dropped 32%.
2012 ended with mixed results in the fourth quarter, Ernst & Young says. There was a 22% growth in mid-sized deals, representing optimism that 2013 could recover, but the stock market's rally at the end of last year could dissuade some activity as valuations may be considered excessive. Overall, Ernst & Young predicts growth in 2013, but likely not until the second half of the year.